Schnugg highlights strong field at local tourney

Nate Schnugg will make his triumphant return to the Rogue Valley on Friday in preparation for the 13th annual $17,500 UBS Financial Open and Senior Clay Championships. The former Medford resident would like nothing more than to leave triumphant, as well.

Schnugg, who just completed a stellar season with the University of Georgia Bulldogs tennis team, enters the UBS Financial Open as the No. 2 seed in men's open singles. He begins play Friday against Peter Samway of Everett, Wash.

The UBS Financial Open, held at Rogue Valley Swim and Tennis Club, is the second richest tournament on the Pacific Northwest circuit. The men's open singles winner takes home a $3,000 check, while the runner-up earns $1,500.

"I don't need the money," said Schnugg. "I just like coming back and playing in front of friends and family."

Play at the tournament begins at noon Friday and concludes Sunday, with championship matches starting at 11 a.m.

The event features five different divisions, including men's 45 singles and 65 singles, and men's open doubles and 65 doubles.

There will be no women's divisions this year due to lack of turnout.

"That's unfortunate because we had about three really good players signed up," said RVSTC director of tennis Frank Inn.

Two-time defending open singles champion Roman Borvanov is the top seed among a field of 19 competitors in men's open singles.

Seeded third is Angelo Niculescu of Lake Oswego, while Eugene's Bart Scott is fourth, Brett Joelson of Beaverton is fifth, Kean Feeder of Portland is sixth, former North Medford High standout and RVSTC tennis pro Jonathan Endrikat is seventh and Scott Schnugg, Nate's older brother and also an ex-Black Tornado, is seeded eighth.

"There are not a lot of guys but it should get very competitive once you get to the quarterfinals," said Inn. "It's a crapshoot knowing who's going to win."

Borvanov has climbed the ATP rankings to No. 350 heading into the tournament.

"That lends him to be a strong favorite," said Inn, "but with Nate having a successful year in college shows his improvement has been tremendous in a year's time.

"The other guys are right there as well. On any given day they are good enough to potentially play up to that level."

Scott Schnugg won two titles in 2004 with a singles crown and doubles title while partnering up with Nate. The Schnugg brothers are back together again as the top seed in the open doubles bracket.

Nate Schnugg lost to last year's eventual runner-up, Amir Hadad, in the open singles semifinal round.

But since that defeat, the younger Schnugg found much success this past season for the Bulldogs.

The sophomore was named All-American after securing the top record on the team with a 43-9 mark. He also went 9-0 in NCAA Tournament play to push Georgia to an NCAA championship.

"I think I've come a long ways since last year," Schnugg said. "I played about 60 matches in college against some of the top players and I held my own."

The UBS Financial Open will offer up its share of challenges, though.

"Anyone can beat anyone," Schnugg said. "You have to stay focused throughout a tournament like this. That's the only way you can win."

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail

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